UK gas bills could rise 17% this year, with the price increase reportedly being “blamed on Russian supplier Gazprom”. Gazprom’s moves to tap Nigeria’s huge energy reserves “will send shivers through western governments already concerned about a shortage of global gas supplies.” Two key Russian export projects, the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline controlled by Transneft and Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline, are facing delays and increased costs. Russia, “the country that defaulted on its international bonds in the late 1990s,” now has $425 billion of gold and currency reserves and a $150 billion stabilization fund, built from oil and gas wealth. “Putin’s whole ethos is that if Russia can’t be a military super-power, it can project economic power. The energy weapon is not the all-encompassing thing Putin thinks it is, and in some ways Russia needs Europe more than Europe needs Russia,” said one analyst.
World EnergyThe President of OPEC says that the price of $100 for a barrel of oil is “not very high”.“Even with oil at $100 per barrel”, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez faces a continued slump in the nation’s energy industry.The repercussions of energy instability in Pakistan “could be felt in neighbouring oil producers like Iran.” The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project is “one of the most important economic projects of the region”.India’s state-run ONGC and the Hinduja Group met officials of Iran’s state-run Petropras and Naft Iran Intertrade with a view to developing oil and gas projects in India.Eni SpA has met with the Tunisian government to discuss the future of the Transmed project which links Italy to Algerian fields.BP Exploration is to pay $379 million to resolve a tax dispute concerning outstanding corporate tax liabilities in Alaska.